Monday, lunchtime, May 7, 2018.
Waiting in line at the cafeteria grill. Ahead of me, two women talking over the plexiglass partition at the counter, a counterwoman waiting for more burgers to come off the grill so she can dress them and and another hospital staff worker waiting for her order to come up. Both are middle-aged but the counterwoman is near fifty and the and staffer is in her late thirties. They are both Haitian and their conversation alternates between French and English, each one switching back and forth as she needs to, with a statement in French getting an English response as often as a French one and vice versa. And just as often a speaker will follow up her own French sentence with her own English one and even switch from one to the other and back in the same sentence as if she’s thinking simultaneously in both languages. But at one point the staffer switches to English and sticks to it and the counterwoman does the same so I can eavesdrop on this exchange:
Staffer: I just come to work, do my work, and be joyful, and help others be joyful so they can get through the day. I don’t need his sexual advances!
Counterwoman: Did you tell him that?
Staffer: Of course!
Counterwoman: Good for you!